TheBUZZ Vegetable intake of pregnant women can determine their children’s risk for diabetes?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Mothers-to-be who consume a low amount of vegetables are more likely to bear children with an increased risk of type 1 diabetes.
WHAT WE KNOW
Currently the risk factors associated with determining type 1 diabetes include:
- Genetics. Having a parent with type 1 diabetes.
- Race. Caucasians have a higher risk if a parent already has type 1 diabetes.
- Presence of islet cell antibodies in the blood. Islet cell antibodies are found in the blood of type 1 diabetics. These antibodies attack the beta cells in the pancreas. Beta cells are responsible for producing insulin. If these antibodies are present, it’s a good indicator that the autoimmune process (of type 1 diabetes) has begun. This test is primarily done in children of parents with type 1 diabetes.
While several studies have been done to determine the effect of maternal diet and type 2 diabetes risk, new studies are assessing the effect of maternal diet on type 1 diabetes. These studies suggest that mothers who are at high risk for producing offspring with type 1 diabetes can decrease their child’s risk by consuming a diet rich in vegetables.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
A study published in Pediatric Diabetes analyzed the dietary habits of 5,724 pairs of mothers and children. Mothers answered questionnaires about their diet during pregnancy and children received blood tests periodically until they were 5 years old. The study showed that less than daily consumption of vegetables (3-5 times per week) in the mother’s diet was associated with an increased risk of islet cell antibodies (IAA), an indicator of type 1 diabetes. Therefore, the study concluded that daily consumption of vegetables in the mother’s diet during pregnancy was associated with decreased risk of islet cell antibodies in the offspring.¹
Diabetes is a disease that is constantly being researched. Aside from the above study, there is little evidence that associates vegetables and decreasing islet cell antibodies. What we do know is that you can greatly decrease you risk for developing type 2 diabetes (which is much more prevalent) by consuming a well balanced diet—rich in fruits and veggies! One of the leading risk factors for type 2 diabetes can be controlled by your diet—being overweight or obese! Eating a diet low in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and rich in fruits and veggies is an easy way to maintain your weight.
Another great thing about fruits and veggies is…they help to maintain your blood glucose levels! So even if you have been (or if you have not been) diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, fruits and vegetables are a great option for any snack or meal! So if you are a mother-to-be or you want to reduce your odds of developing type 2 diabetes, eat your fruits and vegetables each and every day!
¹ Brekke, HK, Ludvigsson, J. “Daily Vegetable Intake During Pregnancy Negatively Associated to Islet Autoimmunity in the Offspring—the ABIS Study.” Pediatric Diabetes (2010): 11(4): 244-50.